It’s time to look forward to 2014. So let’s get to it.
LotRO put up a state of the game address from Kate Paiz today, so LotRO leaps into the lead-off commentary position. I’m not playing favorites, really.
There will be no expansion in 2014. Instead pieces of content, including landscape, will be delivered piecemeal.
Some of the forum comments are pleased that the level cap won’t be increased. Players can focus on raids and take more time to develop our legendary items before they are obsolete and recycled again. There is a lot more motivation to build legendaries that we can fall in love with.
I agree completely except for one problem: what’s the future of the game? What’s the future of Turbine? Should I be a bull or bear in LotRO?
The LotRO forums appear chock full of bulls. If you’re a bear, you can join the bear discussion in the LotRO bear forum. Consensus in the bear forum is certain doom.
I won’t play a bull or bear in LotRO. When I hit cap, I’ll turn into a fairy and flit around randomly, attracted to the most sparkly thing while waiting for World of Darkness, where a single vial of my sweet blood will be worth a small fortune.
The class changes will supposedly be leveraged for a new game feature. “…the class changes have made it possible for us to consider making a new addition to the game… which we will talk about later in the year.”
In a previous post I speculated on unforeseen meta-benefits of the skill trees, including a new class. I would more like to see the existing classes able to perform new true group roles. I would be thrilled to main heal with my lore-master, but this plan leaves some classes in the cold.
This state of the game is a titillating tease in traditional Turbine form. Oh, you she-devil, Mrs. Paiz. (I’m not sure if I’m being literal or figurative.)
Elder Scrolls Online
Serious MMO players are taking this a little too seriously. Elder Scrolls Online is what it is. It’s a unique glass-half-full situation. I call on all hoary old analyzers to stop analyzing and pretend they are kids again, and believe that this is the best western fantasy RPG coming in 2014.
In fact, ESO’s release date of 4/4/14 has caused me to put my planned Neverwinter excursion on hold, the better to focus on capping and concluding LotRO and Rift, then covering ESO up to launch.
Despite the mind-melting UI, the shallow character development, and splitting up the player base into three mutually exclusive factions, I’m still feeling good about a decent RPG experience.
I’m a bit concerned about the mega-server architecture. I really like the community feeling of servers. I like seeing the same people and friends again and again. It’s good for immersion and helps the world feel like home. It makes you feel like somebody instead of just another body.
A mega-server is good for mathematically filling up spaces on demand with the optimal number of bodies, but that just ain’t natural. On top of that, ESO is launching as a subscription game with an additional cash shop, so get ready for double-dipping, shortcuts, $30 war elephants, and $50 personal Dwemer bank-constructs.
Whatever. To be clear, those things are total speculation.
It will be interesting to see how Elder Scrolls fares on consoles. It’s already showing on the list of games available for the PS4, right next to Battlefield 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV.
Rift has an expansion coming in update 3.0. Daglar’s state of the game last month was prettier, better-worded, and slicker than Kate Paiz’ state of the game for LotRO, yet it wasn’t as good. Why? I don’t know. I expected more substance.
The new souls are exciting, allowing rogues and warriors to heal and mages to tank: things that can’t be done in other MMOs.
I’m really looking forward to getting off of Telara and going to another plane of existence. I just love the concept. I loved it in PnP D&D. I loved it in Planescape Torment. I loved it in WoW’s Burning Crusade expansion. Rift has one of the best game worlds going, and I hope they keep it going for years and years.
It’s a significant flaw of both LotRO and Elder Scrolls: we sort of know what to expect. The exploration often boils down to “Oh wow, there it is!” more than “What’s over that big hill? On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!”
Reindeer sleighs. I’m surprised these aren’t in the Rift store.
I’ve looked at all of the mainstream media for this MMO, including almost every video, and I still can’t wrap my head around this game. That’s a good thing. This game isn’t so dumbed down, and in that respect it’s the anti-Elder Scrolls.
Case in point, Everquest Next is F2P, but it’s a complex F2P involving a Player Studio where players can create things for other players and sell them with SOE taking a cut.
This provides everyone–builders, buyers, and devs–with an incentive to make that system successful. The only negative so far for me personally is the visual aesthetic. The cartoony look hasn’t been mentioned much, but it’s on my mind whenever I see in-game preview material.
This electrifying sci-fi entry for 2014 rounds out the upcoming big guns from western MMO developers. Syp from Biobreak is bonkers over this game, the topper of his ten most wanted.
For better or for worse, I’m a fantasy immersion whore. I heart elves. I’m not terribly attracted to humor or space operas, although I did enjoy the first couple Mass Effects. I haven’t been thrilled by what I’ve seen of this game, but that can always change.
Archeage, Blade And Soul, Asian Imports
Archeage has a western publisher in Trion, but the timetable is murkier than a stealthed snow beast in a blizzard. Likewise with Blade And Soul, which recently reached 1.8 million concurrent players in China. That’s very strong Kung Fu.
Bless and Black Desert are other beautiful-looking Asian imports waiting to make a western appearance. That’s all for now. Happy holidays and happy gaming.